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Big Sky roundup: Montana claims road win at Eastern Washington

The Grizzlies turned in good a road effort to add to the drama down the Big Sky stretch, knocking off Eastern in Cheney. FULL ROUNDUP:

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Gfeller made a go-ahead three-pointer with 5:31 remaining, and the Montana Grizzlies held on from there to take down Eastern Washington 77-76 in Cheney, Wash. Saturday afternoon.

Montana (17-11, 13-4 Big Sky) failed to score for the final 2:34 of the game and the Eagles (21-8, 12-4) had two chances to win in the final ten seconds. But jumpers from Drew Brandon and Parker Kelly were blocked by Mario Dunn and Riley Bradshaw, respectively, and the Griz secured the win.

Martin Breunig led Montana with an efficient 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, and also turned in a team-high six assists. Tyler Harvey led the Eagles in the loss with 27. Both teams shot 58 field goals, Montana making 28 to EWU's 27, but the game was decided at the free throw line. While Montana was a perfect 12-of-12, Eastern was 12-of-20.

The result leaves Sacramento State alone in first place at 13-3 and pulls Montana and EWU into a virtual tie for second place with a total game imbalance -- Montana has just one game left in the regular season, while Eastern hits the road to Idaho State and Weber State to close the conference campaign.

Sacramento State dispatches Portland State to take conference lead

Mikh McKinney scored 21 and Sacramento State shot 20-of-22 from the free-throw line to cruise past Portland State 73-60 on Saturday night. With the game tied 49-49 just under the nine-minute mark, Sac State tore off a 16-3 run over the next seven minutes to put the game away.

The result leaves the Hornets (13-3) alone in first place with two road games remaining at Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Sac State has the inside track on hosting the conference tournament and winning its first-ever regular-season conference title in its Division-I history.

Northern Arizona can't keep pace, falls to Northern Colorado on the road

With an Eastern Washington loss, Northern Arizona (11-5) failed to stay in the conference title race as Tevin Svihovec's 20 points led Northern Colorado past the Lumberjacks, 76-74. Tim Huskisson added 18 points and 7 rebounds in only 22 minutes off the bench.

Up 3, the Bears kept some drama by fouling (legitimately) Ako Kaluna on a half-court heave to tie it. Kaluna made his first free-throw but missed the second, then intentionally missed the third to try and get NAU a putback, but the 'Jacks fell short.

Idaho takes care of business against Montana State

Idaho held serve at home against Montana State, notching an 80-73 win to improve to 8-8 in conference play, currently in 7th place. Connor Hill scored 21 to lead the Vandals, playing all 40 minutes in the contest. Idaho travels to Weber State and Idaho State to close the season and secure a spot in the conference tournament.

Weber State beats Idaho State with the deep ball

Chris Hansen and Jeffrey Solarin combined to score 39 points, but it wasn't enough as a barrage of threes led Weber State to a 61-57 win over Idaho State in Ogden. Chris Golden shot 6-of-11 from downtown for a career-high 24 points, and Kyndahl Hill added 3-of-5 from three (all three from the right corner) from the second half for 17 points, a career high of his own.

Golden took over primary point guard duties after Jeremy Senglin was lost for the season with a broken jaw, and the Wildcats are 2-1 since the change. Weber hosts Idaho and Eastern to close the season, teams it went 0-2 against to begin the season in two down-to-the-wire games. Weber is one game ahead of Southern Utah for the final spot in the conference tournament and must maintain that lead to qualify because SUU holds the tiebreaker.

Southern Utah wins on road again, takes care of struggling North Dakota

The Southern Utah Thunderbirds kept their conference tournament hopes alive by beating North Dakota 71-65 in Grand Forks on Saturday afternoon. Trey Kennedy led the T-Birds with 13 points in a typical SUU game, with 12 players seeing the floor and nobody playing more than 26 minutes.

Quinton Hooker tallied 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting as UND made a second-half push, but couldn't overcome the 37-24 halftime deficit.

SUU is now 6-10 in conference play, a game behind Weber State for the eighth and final conference tournament spot.

BIG SKY STANDINGS

TEAM

CONFERENCE

GB

OVERALL

Sacramento State Hornets

13-3

--

19-8

Montana Grizzlies

13-4

.5

17-11

Eastern Washington Eagles

12-4

1

21-8

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks

11-5

2

16-13

Northern Colorado Bears

9-8

4.5

14-14

Portland State Vikings

8-8

5

14-12

Idaho Vandals

8-8

5

13-14

Weber State Wildcats

7-9

6

12-15

Southern Utah Thunderbirds

6-10

7

9-18

North Dakota

4-13

9.5

8-20

Montana State Bobcats

4-13

9.5

7-22

Idaho State Bengals

3-13

10

6-22